Niigata: museums & swords

Niigata (Echigo no Kuni): Yahiko-Shibata area

 

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Iwamuro-machi Niigata, many spa and onsen on geothermal hot springs

 

CARILLON CULTURAL CENTRE, SHIBATA CITY

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Ornamental pond in Tsukioka Carillon Park, September, end of sakura blossoms. Here is the Carillon Cultural Centre, that exhibits Amada Akitsugu work.

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Amada Akitsugu was a highly respected member of community of Shibata-shi, and his work is displayed in the Carillon Cultural Centre in Tsukioka Carillon Park. He received an award from the Japanese Government (Rising Sun with Gold Rays) in 1999, and was made Honorary Citizen of Shibata City in 2003.
 
“Katana-Japan” Official site of Amata Shoji. This site shows different swords by Akitsugu plus information and other swords for sale by various tôshô. Also has good photos of sword manufacture.

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Carillon Cultural Centre kaji museum: display of natural iron stones and sands (jitetsu, tetkôseki, satetsu) found in Niigata-ken.
Large piece is 25 kg and 59% iron. These materials are used in making tamahagane.

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Otanto made by Amata Akitsugu, mei “Akitsugu saku”. Scroll kanji express the character of the sword.

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Katana by Amada Akitsugu and Masamaune Award. Akitsugu from Niigata was Ningen Kokuho (Living National treasure) and died age 85 on 25 June, 2013. He won the Masamune Award in 1977, 1985 and 1996, which is the highest award of the Shinsakutô Competition.

 

PRIVATE MUSEUM SHIBATA AREA

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Private museum Shibata area and old museum pieces (Malcolm Cox & Koen Hosokawa sensei)

 

YAHIKO SHRINE

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Gate to main building of Yahiko Jinja Shinto shrine in Niigata. Sign is location of old shrine sanctuary burnt down in Meiji 45/Taishô 1 (1911). Main shrine was rebuilt in 1916.
# Link to many locations of interest in Mt Yahiko area

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Yahiko Jinja museum, scroll “Yahiko” by Sayama

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Yahiko Jinja sword museum (Treasure Hall), main display room and security/fire door for giant tachi

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Katana with mei: “Iwashiro no Kuni Wakamatsu ju Kanesada” 岩代国和歌松住兼定. The mei also has “hônô” showing he donated the sword to the shrine. This is the 12th generation Izumi no Kami Kanesada, born 1837 in Wakamatsu, Aizu; early on he signed Kanemoto. Apparently he worked as a tôshô in the Yahiko Tanren of Kannondera (“Temple of Kannon”) from Meiji 3 to 9 (1870-1876); he died in Meiji 36 (1903).

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Katana by Kanesada, apparently also by Izumi no Kami Kanesada with the unusual patriotic mei: “Dai Nippon Kanesada” (great Japan Kanesada), with date given as 2552 years since foundation of Empire (i.e. 1892). The sword was donated to the shrine in Meiji 26 (1893). Sign says sayagaki has Noshu (i.e. Mino no Kuni) and Izumi no Kami Kanesada. The Noshu likely refers to the roots from Mino, and this smith cut “sada” as “Nosada” of the early Seki Kanesada. Of note is the o-kissaki and the sanbonsugi hamon.

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Tachi by Dewa no Kuni Kazunao. He lived in Shônai and his Gô is Sato Heishirô. This tachi has elaborate gunome choji hamon. He was a member of the Suishinshi Masahide Mon, working in 1840-60’s period and was skilled at such hamon.

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Koshirae of handachi type for Kazunao tachi

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Tachi ito no machi with blade by Amada Akitsugu in Showa 56 (1981) who was designated as an Intangible Cultural Asset of Niigata Prefecture in 1978. Designated Ningen Kokuho (Living National Treasure) in 1997. This sword was donated to Yahiko Shrine by Shibata City.
 

O-dachi 大太刀 (no-dachi) extremely long swords

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Giant tachi in security room is known as “Shida no Otachi” named after Lord Shida of the local castle who presented it to the Shrine in Oei 22 (1415). It is said that the tachi may have been shortened. The sword has been nominated several times for national treasure status, and in Showa 25 (1950) was designated as Juyô Bunkazai (Important Cultural Asset). Nagasa is 2.204 m and nakago is 1.018 m (total 3.222 m) and said to be the longest sword in Japan. No tôshô is recorded.

 

HOSOKAWA SENSEI

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Rev Koen Hosokawa in family Higashi Honganji Buddhist temple, Shindori, Niigata, 2010.

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Rev Hosokawa is also kyudo sensei of Muyô Shin Getsu Ryu, here in his dojo in Niigata. Photo of founder of style. Previously Hosokawa san was a Buddhist minister and kyudo sensei (Nanka Kyudo Kai) in Los Angeles, California (1973 to 1988), then Brisbane (Nan Sen Dojo), Australia (1988 to 1996). After returning to Japan in 1996, through a traditional marriage and adoption his name changed from Mishima Koen becoming Hosokawa Koen.
The Muyô Shin Getsu school of kyudo was founded by Master Kenran Umeji in the 1920’s, in Himeji. After Master Umeji’s death, his principal disciple, Master Gyo Sagino, was head of the school until his own death in 2004; he was succeeded by his grandson Michiya Sagina. The kanji for Muyô Shin Getsu 無影心月 translate to: mu = nothing, yô = shadow, shin = spirit/heart/mind, getsu/gatsu = moon

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